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News and Notes 8/13: Ravens Extremely Deep on D-Line, Could Make Trade

Posted Aug 13, 2017

More new absences at Sunday’s practice. Safety Eric Weddle and guard Jermaine Eluemunor leave practice early (doesn’t look major). Fiesty practice features a one-on-one battle between Za'Darius Smith and Ryan Jensen.

While the Ravens are shuffling their offensive line due to injuries, Baltimore has a completely different “problem” on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

The Ravens have too many really good defensive linemen, and it’s been on display the last few practices.

“It’s a great problem to have,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Saturday.

“We’re going to have a heck of a group, and I’m sure people are going to be calling us here shortly with some of our guys. We just have to see how it plays out.”

The possibility of the Ravens making a trade to bolster injury-hit spots is always a possibility, and as Harbaugh indicated, it could come from Baltimore’s defensive line. The Ravens already traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles before the draft, but still have a bounty of talent.

The Ravens have perhaps the league’s strongest run-stuffing duo inside with Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. Both will get more opportunities to collapse the pocket and get after quarterbacks this year too.

But Baltimore is also seeing big strides from some younger interior defensive linemen including Willie Henry, Carl Davis and undrafted rookie Patrick Ricard.

Henry, a second-year defensive tackle who didn’t see any game action last year as a fourth-round pick, has dramatically improved his run-stopping ability, Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen said Sunday. Henry has shown his knack for getting pressure as well, which was his trademark in college at Michigan.

Davis has gotten stronger, and he was already a large man at 6-foot-5, 327 pounds. The 2015 third-round pick, who spent last year on injured reserve (ankle) has been too powerful for the Ravens’ second-team offensive line on most occasions.

Baltimore drafted Chris Wormley in the third round, and he may have had his best practice yet Sunday. Wormley more than held his own in run defense work.

Then there’s Ricard, who the Ravens are already raving about as being a great find. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Maine product is quick, hustles (he made a tackle 17 yards down the field Thursday night) and gritty. After Sunday’s long, physical practice ended, Ricard walked to the goal posts and practiced his technique by himself.

“We have a really deep group,” Cullen said. “From top to bottom, they’re working really hard.”

Here are some other notes from Sunday's practice:

  • Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and rookie outside linebacker Tyus Bowser were all new practice absences. They were all part of Saturday’s M&T Bank Stadium practice and didn’t seem to suffer any injuries. Quarterback Joe Flacco (back) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) are still out.
  • Safety Eric Weddle and rookie guard Jermaine Eluemunor left practice early, but it didn’t seem like anything serious. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo also seemed to tweak something near the end of practice. Harbaugh didn’t meet with reporters afterwards, so there’s no update on their status.
  • The highlight of practice was when Harbaugh gave outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith the option of who to take on during one-on-one “battle” drills in front of the whole team. He picked “the red head,” center Ryan Jensen. Smith rushed and Jensen buried him in the turf and rolled on top, drawing a flag for holding. The entire team erupted and piled on the two. Jensen later walked over and gave Smith a bump and hug.
  • Terrell Suggs was at peak Sizzle banter. He was yelling at everyone, and gave wide receiver/returner Keenan Reynolds an earful after he muffed a kickoff return, saying, “We’ll fire your [butt] as fast as we hired your [butt]!”
  • With Stanley out, James Hurst once again showed his flexibility by moving over to left tackle. He had a strong practice, and stood Suggs up once during a one-on-one battle. Hurst has now bounced between left tackle, right tackle and left guard in the past week.
  • Veteran cornerback Brandon Carr continued his consistently solid play and came up with what would have been a pick-six when he jumped an outside route. Undrafted rookie cornerback Jaylen Hill also got another pick.

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